There's no doubt that 2009 ranks up there as one of the most challenging years facing the Canadian travel industry, especially in markets that rely on U.S. visitors.
While I previously reported that Thunder Bay's hotel performance to the end of May was steady (0.0% change over y.t.d 2008), June saw performance dip slightly, ending up the first half of the year with a -0.6% change. Given passport requirements, slow U.S. economy any high Canadian dollar value, this decrease in demand should not be cause for too much concern. Given that every hotel market in Canada was down for the first 6 months of 2009 except Windsor (+4% change), Thunder Bay's room demand decline was still the most modest of every urban market in Canada.
Thunder Bay's 6 month average occupancy rate for 2009 is 62.3%, up from 62% in 2008. Average daily room rate is $93.13, down from $93.98 in 2008 and average revenue per room is $58.02, down slightly from $58.27 in 2008.
Individual July weekly performance in Thunder Bay has been mixed, with some declining weeks and others in the positive category but it appears overall, that our summer leisure traffic season appears to be weathering the industry's changing demographics remarkably well.
Our prediction for the remainder of the year sees a stable meeting and convention market kicking in late September to early December that will keep hotel demand steady and we anticipate Porter's (www.flyporter.com) arrival in the City at the end of June may help contribute to a strong fall corporate travel market.
To follow hotel performance, visit www.hvs.com/library.